hero.jpgHyperion
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When we saw a press release announcing the first novel about a young, gay superhero, we were kinda like, really? Maybe with all the tight outfits, bright colors and scrappy young sidekicks, an unconscious gayness permeated the world of comics and graphic novels. But here it is nonetheless, the first gay superhero. Author Perry Moore (an exec producer on the “Narnia” films for Disney) has penned quite the tale about isolation and yearning. Thom Creed is our hero, a high-school basketball star who is the son of a (powerless) superhero that has fallen from grace. He is in the process of learning two things about himself: that he has the ability to heal people, and that he would rather kiss a boy than a girl. Even though Hyperion is Disney’s publishing company, the material is pretty mature by all counts. Many characters have a fondness of the word ‘f#$%’ and Thom explores his sexual identity by looking up gay porn online. But perhaps that is an accurate assessment of young America at this very time, so only 15 year-olds can tell us how racy it actually is. Amidst the usual teen angst, Thom secretly goes out to join the League – the world’s finest assembly of superheroes. When Justice, the otherworldly head of the group is training Thom, the boy tries to muster up the courage to tell him how much he wants “to count in the world” and that this squadron of heroes has become the most important thing in his life. As the novel is told in first person, we get plenty of honest, funny and touching admissions from our young protagonist. He dreams about “living in a beach shack on a tropical island with Viggo Mortensen…we’d go horseback riding everyday.” But all this self-discovery (for sex and superpowers) transpires while the world is in grave danger and a fight is bubbling between good and evil,that will culminate in the great, big Hollywood ending (blockbusters and action figures are even alluded to in the final pages). In terms of a novel, it may not share as many insights about the human condition as Jane Austen or anything, but it certainly packs some fun punches and has some entertaining twists in the mix. As Thom tells us: “Everyone in the world should have at least one moment in their lifetime when an entire crowd of people cheers them on for something, one moment to feel exceptional, one moment that lets you know you really do mean something in the universe.” Well bravo to that. This book is an amazing gift to young Americans of all persuasions who want to someday change the world.